The Dreadful Winter
Ability Score Arrays
Standard: 15, 14, 14, 13, 10, 10
Specialized: 16, 14, 14, 13, 10, 8
Generalized: 14, 14, 14, 13, 12, 10
There are a few new skills in this game, and Knowledge functions just a little bit differently. Additionally, there are new languages to consider. Full info here.
Paladins/Summoners/Sorcerers/Wizards: The Dread Companion
As I’ll go over later, almost all familiars, spirit guides, eidolons and sacred mounts—with some special exceptions—are all dread companions. Dread companions are invariably evil, and can really be seen as extensions of the owner’s id.
The death of a familiar carries severe and tangible consequences, though the exact nature of those consequences can vary from a deadly curse to permanent Wisdom drain to the familiar’s soul merging with your own. We’ll talk it out if it happens.
Cavaliers/Druids/Hunters: The Companion
Just to note, your companion is not a dread companion, and remains a normal beast.
Bards/Skalds: Bardic Knowledge
A bard can assume familiarity with a number of domains equal to his bard level. When using bardic knowledge to understand anything outside this domain, the DC increases by +5.
Nobody is even sure the gods are real. They sure don’t discriminate. Alignment and positive/negative energy channeling are entirely disparate from your gods. You can be an evil worshiper of an evil god and channel positive energy, and vice versa. You can also be an evil worshiper of a good god, or vice versa.
Paladins: Detect Evil
You can only use ‘Detect Evil’ to detect chaos, detect Innocents, or to sense the true nature of evil outsiders.
Most of Ravenloft’s folk live and die within a score of miles from their birthplace and can spend their entire lives without ever knowingly encountering the supernatural. When combined with cultures rich in suspicion and superstition, the result is a whole lot of xenophobia.
This is expressed as an Outcast Rating (OR), which may modify the DCs of social skill checks performed by any character who appears unnatural or out of place.
Your OR can be modified by your race, class, social standing, physical differences, or even the gear you carry. As your OR rises, NPC reactions toward you turn from standoffish to fearful.
OR applies as a circumstance penalty to all Charisma-based checks, except Intimidate, to which it applies as a bonus instead. These modifiers do not apply when dealing with others who share the source of your OR modifiers (such as other members of your race), nor to friends or allies (or anybody you have already established some sort of rapport with). They also do not apply if you are concealing the sources.
Some domains apply their own OR modifiers, as they are even more xenophobic than usual.
Class ORs: (these are subject to variance depending on how you flavor your class)
New feats are listed here.
Some spells function differently in Ravenloft. Let me take a look at your spell choices before finalizing them so I can tell you which ones will behave abnormally.
This campaign will utilize Taint rules on a case-by-case basis. To put it simply, Taint is acquired by either beholding horrific sights or being subjected to areas, objects or creatures infused with utter evil.
Taint comes in two forms: Depravity (mental stress) and Corruption (physical changes). Each type is tracked separately, is acquired by different situations, and is linked to a different resisting stat. Depravity is resisted by Wisdom, and characters with lower Wisdom are much more vulnerable to it. Corruption is resisted by Constitution.
Generally speaking, when you are subjected to a source of Taint, you get to make a save—either Will or Fortitude. If you succeed, you avoid being affected. If you fail, you will take on some Corruption or Depravity. Characters with Innocence are immune to Corruption, but take a -2 penalty on Will saves against Depravity: physical Taint can’t touch them, but the mental stress of pure evil is harder for them to endure. An Innocent who takes on any amount of Depravity must immediately make a powers check. Unlike normal powers checks, only causes them to lose their Innocence if they fail the check.
Speaking of which, there are also Powers Checks. These are only triggered by deliberate evil or questionable actions, such as casting necromantic spells, summoning demons, placing curses, or committing evil acts. When failed, powers tests can lead the subject down a dark and wicked road that can end with them being made the tortured darklord of their own domain. Probably nothing to worry about!
Curses and Oaths
Curses and Oaths have a special power in Ravenloft.
Blind Characters: People who have spent the majority of their lives blind deal with reduced penalties.
Blinded: You cannot see. You lose your Dexterity bonus to AC (if any), and take a –2 penalty on most Strength- and Dexterity-based skill checks and on opposed Perception skill checks. All checks and activities that rely on vision (such as reading and Perception checks based on sight) automatically fail. You gain a +4 bonus on Perception checks not involving sight.
All opponents are considered to have total concealment (50% miss chance) against you. You must make a DC 10 Acrobatics skill check to use the Run, Withdraw or Charge actions. If you fail this check, you fall prone.
Skills that take a penalty:
Sleight of Hand